By Marisa Kakoulas
The meteoric media attention to tattooing is making a lot of people, a lot of money. And many of those people don’t have a single tattoo. When tattoo polls make claims like “one in five U.S. adults has at least one tattoo,” that’s a significant market to be tapped.
We are passionate about tattoos. We get excited to view beautiful work and pissed off when the art is denigrated. This passion = $$ in the eyes of those seeking “eyeballs” for their websites, TV shows, magazines, and sales outlets.
Back in October, we talked about tattoo “Like farms.” Those are often the tattoo “fan” pages with the billion “Likes” on Facebook, where you’ll find beautiful tattoos but without any information on the artist, photographer, or collector. The tattoos are used to draw us in and then throw ad links to merch, apps, and services.
The flip side to this is what I see as the “Dislike” hook: tricks like “click-baiting,” with headlines such as “Tattoos are Corny and Degrading,” designed to drag us in, make us angry with asinine writing, and provoke us to comment on the article, defending something that is personal and important to us. It brings more clicks, more time on the site, and more interactivity. Editors and advertisers just love how much we hate it.
Back in my early days of blogging (over 10 years ago), I used to call these articles out, and even comment on them in the hopes of trying to change someone’s mind with, what I believed to be, rational thought. I no longer do that. Because, in the history of the Internet, no one has ever won in a comment war.
To read the rest of this article, visit: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/03/never-read-or-post-the-comments.html
By Marisa Kakoulas
As we first posted back in October, the original the NYC Tattoo Convention will be taking place March 7-9, 2014 at the the historic Roseland Ballroom – before this legendary venue closes in April (hence, why the show won’t be taking place as it usually does in May).
And as always, we’re stoked for the show, particularly for its finely curated line-up of tattooers from around the world, including long-time legends, and also traditional hand-tattooing booths. There are some great sideshow performances, and tattoo competitions that really present some stellar work. Plus, the kickass vendors offer badass merch. [Literally, "badass."]
I have been attending the NYC Convention for 13 years, and it has consistently been one of the most electric shows I attend. I’ll be doing a book signing there this year for my latest monster, “Black Tattoo Art II.” Just follow the loud maniacal laugh when you get to the convention and you’ll find me.
Read the full article here: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/02/nyc-tattoo-convention-march-7-9.html
Hand-poked tattoos are experiencing a Renaissance, with stellar professional tattooers reviving the ancient methods of body adornment. Employing techniques passed down from generations, much of hand tattooing comes with strict tradition and sacred rituals. The question is should it come in a box?
When SF tattooist Shannon Archuleta sent me the link to the Stick & Poke Tattoo Kit, we both said that our initial reaction was Oooh nooo. Then there’s the rationalization reaction: people have always been sticking and poking themselves, so they might as well be safe. This rationalization is how the kit is touted.
However, upon further reading of the site — particularly the “Open letter to the precious tattoo artist” on the blog portion — the disdain for the craft, the hygiene 101 info and bad advice on what to do with the dirty needles, and also the goal of putting the kits in stores around the world, well, it made Shannon and I revert to our original reaction: this is not a good thing.
To read more of this article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/01/stick-and-poke-tattoo-kits.html
By Marisa Kakoulas
Having a Greek father who once told me that tattoos would never be accepted in the motherland, it’s with true pleasure (and a bit of “I told ya so“) to see a tattoo publication rise to international popularity, which happens to come out of Greece.
HEARTBEATINK is an online tattoo magazine in English and Greek with excellent photography and videos, and thoughtful interviews with tattooists, musicians, and collectors. I’m honored to be among those collectors interviewed by the magazine’s most excellent editor Ino Mei. Our Q &A was just posted today.
I first met Ino in person at the last NYC Tattoo Convention, where she beautifully captured the scene in her convention coverage for her mag. Then we got to hang at the London Tattoo Convention in September, for which she also took wonderful images and video. There, we found a moment to chat about a possible “tattoo gene,” the comparisons between tattooing & plastic surgery, tattoo law, and what happened when my dad did find out I was heavily tattooed (and more). It was a fun talk. Here’s a bit from it:
How did you get into tattoos?
Me: Ed Hardy once told me in an interview that he believes that there could be a “tattoo gene.” It made a lot of sense to me because, when you ask somebody who has a visceral response to tattooing — who sees tattooing and has an actual physical reaction and is attracted to it — that is something that’s ingrained; people can think back and say, “Well, I’ve always felt that way”. I remember when I was very young, looking at my mother’s National Geographic magazines and coming across tattooed tribal women, and I was instantly thinking that this is really beautiful, mysterious and bad-ass. Of course, this is an ideal way of looking at it. really, if I would be honest with myself, it is because I liked tattooed boys when I was teenager (laughs).
HEARTBEATINK: Where you then tattooed when you were a teenager?
I was a nerdy teenager, did good in school, and my parents were very conservative. I didn’t run around a lot. So when I found myself at tattoo shops at a young age, it held a kind of magic for me. Keep in mind that getting a tattoo was illegal back then, until 1997, in New York, so it was more secretive. You had to know where to go and ring the right buzzer. It was like a clandestine operation. However, when you were “inside”, it wasn’t what you’d expect, like a biker shop. At least in my experience, when I was first exposed to it, I was seeing really beautiful custom tattooing. There were art books rather than trendy flash for inspiration. I respected it so much that I felt I really wanted to wait until a had the right idea and do it at the right time. So, I didn’t get tattooed until I was in my early twenties. Actually, I got my first tattoo during the early weeks of law school. I felt I didn’t fit it, and was afraid that I’d become something that I wasn’t. I love the study of law, but I’ve never been super competitive and I’ve never felt that I had to be above somebody else to be better. It was really at that time that I started thinking about art and tattooing a lot in terms of individuation.
HEARTBEATINK: That sounds very mature…
I was a very mature kid (laughs). Now, I’m regressing. I’m like a thirteen-year-old boy (laughs). Back then, I was like a forty year old women (laughs).
Read more of this article here: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2014/01/my-chat-with-greeces-heartbeat-ink.html
By Marisa Kakoulas
Photo by Edgar Hoill.
As a happy update to our post on the French Health Ministry’s attempted ban of most colored inks, the association of professional tattooers in France, Tatouage & Partage, received a letter from health officials stating that the proposed ban was “malentendu” — a misunderstanding. You can find a copy of the letter here.
According to the AFP:
“The ban was “misinterpreted” by the government offices in charge of implementing it, he said, expressing relief on behalf of France’s 3,500 to 4,000 professional tattoo artists. […]
The tattoo artists’ association said the problem was one of the four tables printed in the government decree announcing the ban, which listed the dyes allowed in cosmetic products…”
To read the rest of this article, go to: http://www.needlesandsins.com/2013/12/color-tattoo-saved-in-france.html
By Marisa Kakoulas
In The Guardian today is feature called “Painted Ladies: Why women get tattoos.” Normally, I find these types of articles banal, or even cringe worthy, for perpetuating cliches or not offering a broad spectrum of experience from our community. And so I was happily surprised to find many different voices of tattooed women in this article.
While there need not be any great miraculous reason to get tattooed, tattoos do come with a story, from an impulse to get a quick piece of historic flash to a full body project. I found the profiles of these women to be really interesting, and they made me think on the commonaIities and differences of our experiences with tattoos.
I particularly loved reading about Juanita Carberry, a merchant navy steward, who died in July at age 88. Here’s a bit from her story:
“The daughter of a renegade Irish peer, Carberry lived an extraordinarily full life. Her childhood in Kenya was difficult: her mother, a well-known aviator, died when she was three, and Carberry was often beaten by her governess. As a teenager, she was a key witness in a celebrated murder case, the 1941 shooting of the 22nd Earl of Erroll, and at 17 she joined the first aid nursing yeomanry in the Women’s Territorials during the second world war. In 1946, Carberry became one of a handful of women to join the merchant navy, remaining for 17 years. It was during this period, says photographer Christina Theisen, that she started acquiring tattoos. Her first was a small spider on the sole of her foot; it didn’t hurt, Theisen recalls Carberry saying, because the skin on her feet was so tough from walking barefoot as a child.”
Read more here.
It is the work of Christina Theisen and Eleni Stefanou that really makes this piece so engaging. Theisen and Stefanou are behind womenwithtattoos.co.uk, a photo and film endeavor that pays respect to all tattooed women. They offer this on their work: “Our project seeks to capture the personal and the individual, embracing each woman and her tattoos as one, rather than isolating or magnifying the inked parts of her body. At the same time, by using natural environments and the context of urban Western culture, we intentionally move away from the sexualised glamour model aesthetic that dominates tattoo magazines and popular culture.”
Two words: Hell. Yeah.
My regret is that I wasn’t aware of the project when it first rolled out. I will continue to follow Theisen and Stefanou’s work, and I hope that more media outlets also follow their lead in telling compelling stories without the usual pop culture hype and flash so prevalent today.
By Marisa Kakoulas
A beautifully curated and styled collection of entomology-based artwork from around the world, Antennae of Inspiration: The Insect Art Project is yet another wonderful accomplishment of Jinxi Boo Caddel and her Out of Step Books. The cover artwork alone, by Jeff Gogue, is a perfect example of the stunning works on the pages inside. In addition to images of tattoos, paintings, drawings, photography and other mediums, there are also engaging stories behind many of the works.
Antennae of Inspiration is part of Out of Step’s Inspiration Art Project Series: beautiful hardcover publications designed to do exactly what the name says — inspire exciting interpretations of particular themes by presenting an ensemble of art in different mediums focused on those themes. This volume is all about bug art. Here’s more about it from Jinxi:
“With a multitude of mediums included, our insect, snail, and arachnid friends are colorfully interpreted in over 1,650 different ways by 848 unique and talented artisans. This collective project brings together an artistic treasure trove of inspirational work to celebrate the wondrous world of compound eyes, aerodynamic wings, and versatile antennae. Antennae of Inspiration is a full color, hardback, coffee-table style, 480-page beauty of a book.”
You can purchase the book online for $79.95. Such a compilation is worth so much more. Gorgeous examples of what you’ll find in the book are below.
What is also particularly excellent is that a percentage of the proceeds of all book sales through Jinxi’s Out of Step Books goes to Donorschoose.org in an effort to keep arts education alive and thriving. There are also art prints for purchase, and all the proceeds from those sales go to Donorschoose.org.
**Jinxi’s books are also available at: http://www.getTAM.com.
By Marisa Kakoulas
From today through December 23 (or until they run out because I don’t have many left), my new Black Tattoo Art 2 will be on sale for $140 (including free shipping in the US); theBlack & Grey Tattoo box set is on sale for $300 (originally $399); and the individual books of the set are $120 each.
You can order via Paypal on the Needles & Sins online store or contact me at email@example.com.
By Maris Kakoulas
Reblogged from: http://www.needlesandsins.com
On Monday – P.Ink Day – a group of truly exceptional tattooers, exceptional in their art and in their spirit, dedicated their time to transform mastectomy scars of kickass women into beautiful life-affirming creations. Just taking a look at Gigi Stoll’s photos of what went down at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn that day, offers a glimpse into just how powerful and magical tattooing can be.
As I’ve posted here before, P.Ink or Personal Ink Project is an incredible resource that offers tattoo inspiration, ideas and info for breast cancer survivors. It also is a place where these women can research and perhaps even connect with skilled artists who can transform mastectomy scars into beautiful works of art. On Monday, P.Ink brought artists and survivors together in person, and picked up the tab via an Indiegogo campaign – that still needs help with funding.
To learn more about P.Ink and the transformation of mastectomy scars from the perspective of the tattoo artist and the client, check this HuffPo video featuring P.Ink’s founder Noel Franus, artist Joy Rumore and Megan Hartman, whom Joy tattooed on Monday (tattoo shown above). Joy also blogged about her experience, which is a great read.
For all the inspiration and beauty, thank you, P.Ink and the artists who made it all possible: Stephanie Tamez, Virginia Elwood, Ashley Love, Michelle Tarantelli, Roxx,Shannon Purvis Barron, Nikki Lugo, Miranda Lorberer, Jen Carmean, and Joy Rumore.
Check out TAM for more awesome interviews:
By Marisa Kakoulas
Last week, a site called jesustattoo.org came across my radar in which there is a video (shown below) of an actor, with a bad wig and faux facial hair, who plays Jesus as a tattoo artist. Tattoo Jesus transforms tattoos that say “useless” and “outcast” to “brave” and “purpose.” The big reveal is when he takes off his shirt, and we see that the negative marks are now on his body.
Even as a heathen, I thought it was a nice concept, but I just couldn’t get past the fake hair and cheezy production, so I decided not to post it. BUT, when I learned of the “outcry” against the jesustattoo.org billboard in Lubbock, Texas, well, that to me is newsworthy because it’s a reminder that many still view tattoos as “blasphemous,” and people take the tattoos of others — no matter what the subject matter — as personally offensive to their beliefs.
Also interesting is that the evangelicals behind jesustattoo.org are really digging the backlash. According to Vibe, media relations coordinator for the organization, Ashleigh Sawyer, stated: “Certainly, like with all deeply personal relationships, not everyone approves of the image of Jesus with tattoos, but we welcome the controversy because we understand that a dialogue on the issue is the best way to spread the message.”
Well, the message is out. Even I ended up posting it.
By Marisa Kakoulas
Reblogged from: www.needlesandsins.com
In March, we wrote about the Personal Ink Project or P.INK, which is an incredible resource that offers tattoo inspiration, ideas and info for breast cancer survivors. It also is a place where these women can research and perhaps even connect with skilled artists who can transform mastectomy scars into beautiful works of art.
On October 21, 2013, that connection will be made when 10 tattoo artists will tattoo scar-coverage or nipple-replacement tattoos on 10 breast cancer survivors at Saved Tattoo in Brooklyn, NY.
You can help make this event happen by being a part of the crowd-funded project for as little as $10. There are also tons of perks for those who can give more. For $50, there’s digital swag and temp tattoos. For $500, you get an art print of one of the tattoos you helpedg fund.
And the art is guaranteed to be stellar considering the line-up:
- Virginia Elwood from Saved Tattoo
I’ve had the pleasure of working with the P.INK team, in a small way, on this event. P.INK is a “nights-and-weekends passion project” of a handful of employees at the Boulder-based ad agency CP+B who had been affected by cancer. Their goal is to see this project expand, including more P.INK Days should this first event be a success.
Learn more about the project from the video below.
By Marisa Kakoulas
We live in a time when images of tattoos are in a constant stream online. Your eyes may light up at the artistry, as you scroll through your Instagram and Facebook feeds, click “Like,” maybe even “Share” … and then on to the next one. For me, when I want to really find inspiration, to spend time with a work of art, I want a book in my hands. That’s why I continue to give birth to these monster tomes that are great big love letters to various genres of tattoos — books that are meticulously crafted and published by Edition Reuss.
Black Tattoo Art II: Modern Expressions of the Tribal is my latest book; it’s the second volume to my very first baby.
At the time, when we published the first volume in 2009, I had no idea that we would have such an incredible response. I just thought that there wasn’t really any comprehensive books on works created only with black ink, such as neotribal, ornamental and abstract work, and so Edition Reuss and I made one. What came out of it was a community. Artists and collectors from the book contacted each other, shared ideas, and had a few drinks. It was the greatest gift I ever received from a project. So when asked if I’d do a second volume, I said, “Hell yeah!”
By Marisa Kakoulas
Reblogged from: http://needlesandsins.com
Continuing to make serious tattoo collectors smile, Things & Ink magazine – which I have described as a love letter to tattooed women – marks its one-year anniversary with The Art Issue, and also a group exhibition, opening in London tonight, entitled “Under Her Skin.”
“Under Her Skin,” which runs until September 30, 2013, at Atomica Gallery, Hackney Downs Studios, features fine art celebrating modern female tattoo culture by some of the best female tattooers. “Under Her Skin” will be also exhibited during the London International Tattoo Convention, September 27-29.
At tonight’s event, you’ll get you hands on the latest Things & Ink issue, which, once again, has a gorgeous cover, proving that you can show beautiful tattooed women in a way that isn’t cheap. The cover art is inspired by Millais’ iconic artwork, Ophelia, with tattoo artist Tracy D. Check the video below for a behind-the-scenes look at the shoot. Within the magazine are more fantastic recreations of iconic fine art work with their own “tattoo twist,” along with art historical commentary from Doctor Matt Lodder.
As editor Alice Snape notes in her Letter from the Editor: “The issue covers tricky topics, such as tattoo etiquette (when does inspiration turn into copying?), and tattoos as art. We also spoke to artists who have had their own work used as tattoo inspiration. One of my personal highlights is an interview with iconic artist Jack Vettriano, as I have been a huge fan of his work since my teenage years.”
By Marisa Kakoulas
Reblogged from: http://www.needlesandsins.com
I am THRILLED about a new segment for N+S, which combines my two loves: tattoos & wine. The wonderful Demetra Molina, who co-owns The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor in Ithaca, NY, with her tattooist husband Eddie Molina, has graciously offered to share her expertise (she has a Level 1 Foundation from the Wine and Spirit Education Trust of England) — and with a fun twist. Demetra will be reviewing wines from the areas of upcoming tattoo conventions, so when you’re off to get tattooed, you can pick up a bottle of local wine as well. Considering that the Berlin Tattoo Convention kicks off today, Demetra educates us on German wines & the convention.
BY DEMETRA MOLINA:
Tattoo conventions are an international affair, and tattooists travel quite extensively. Artists jump on and off of planes constantly, and the landscape is often a blur. Slowing down during intense travel often means wandering about in our new surroundings, taking in the area. In my case, wine and wine tasting helps me enjoy and remember a place, not just running through its airports with my husband and tattoo artist Eddie Molina. Looking to the next few months, there are several high profile conventions coming, all in exceptional wine areas. First up: Berlin, Germany 2013.
August 2nd-4th, Tattoo Convention Berlin 2013 will mark its 23rd festival in Berlin, Germany. International tattoo artists are drawn to this well-established show, currently located in the refurbished hotspot Station Berlin (check out the link to this beautifully renovated historic space here, especially if you enjoy architecture: STATION Berlin). Station Berlin is a former train station in the hub of Berlin, now a historic landmark with seven different halls of differing sizes. Crystal chandeliers hang amidst very minimal surroundings, elegant yet stark spaces waiting for creativity. It’s the perfect place to showcase our colorful tattoo culture.
The convention is known by tattooists to be well organized, have a talented list of names, and promises a large crowd of art enthusiasts as well as potential clients. I asked friend and tattooist Cory Ferguson about his past Berlin Convention recollections, and he replied with “..lots of stuff going on other than tattooing to keep the public interested…really fun, I loved it! So many other shows were just disappointing after doing that one. There is also just so much culture to take in on top of the show, that you can’t go wrong doing Berlin.” Suspensions, live bands, collaborative ArtFusion, tattoo contests, and a Tattoo Queen title is up for grabs. No bored wandering of the floor for hours at this show, too much to do. Culture, history, architecture, tattoo convention, wine! While Germany is mainly known for its beers and brews, there are a few wines you don’t want to miss. Take a break from the beer gardens, and explore the local wines in the German Riesling scene.
Riesling is the leading grape variety grown in Germany, having originated in the Rhine region during the fifteenth century. It is an extremely flexible white grape that can be shaped into several styles of Riesling wine, from dry to sweet, and everywhere in between. The cool climate fruit is known to beautifully showcase the soil, or terroir, it is grown in. The vines do exceptionally well on the slate rock slopes of Mosel, and the slate is often a flavor dynamic of the finished wine.
Riesling is a very under rated, food friendly white wine, that is enjoying a renaissance in the culinary world. Many styles pair beautifully with seafood, poultry, and lighter pork dishes. Try a slightly off dry style Riesling with a Thai or Vietnamese meal next time; the crisp, fruity acidity and slight cooling sweetness will extinguish the heat!
We are fortunate that The Hand of Fate Tattoo Parlor is in the beautiful city of Ithaca. Located in upstate New York, and situated smack in the center of Finger Lakes wine country, it is a cooler climate viticulture area, very similar to prime German locations. The grape vines flourish in our climate, producing top-level grapes that will make world-class Riesling wines. Several of our wineries are responsible for highly rated Rieslings, in every style under the sun.
The Berlin Tattoo Convention is a fantastic opportunity to absorb a bit of tattoo culture, while enjoying wines that are created from part of the landscape. If you can’t make it to the show, at least try a few of the wines from the area!
A few German Rieslings to try:
Dr. F. Weins-Prum 2010 Feinherb Riesling (Mosel)
Erben von Beulwitz 2006 Kaseler Nies’chen Riesling Spatlese (Ruwer)
Dr. Loosen 2011 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Spatlese (Mosel)
Schloss Vollrads 2011 Riesling (Rheingau)
And a few Finger Lakes Rieslings too:
Tierce Dry Riesling 2011 (Finger Lakes)
Dry Riesling Anthony Road Wine Company 2012 (Finger Lakes)
Riesling 2011 Sheldrake Point Winery (Finger Lakes)
Semi-Dry Riesling 2012 Leidenfrost Vineyards (Finger Lakes)
By Marisa Kakoulas
Earlier in the week, I had seen the buzz over the “Boom” tattoo, but decided not to post it because I didn’t want to give anyone more press to Shaun Reah — a pathetic man with an idiotic racist tattoo. Sadly, there are too many of those. And I’m guessing that, especially within the Islamophobic English Defence League (EDL), Reah is not alone.
However, what Matt posted yesterday sparked the tattoo law nerdiness in me because it was the first time that I’ve heard about a man who was actually arrested solely on the basis of the content of his tattoo. Sky.com wrote:
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “A 39-year-old man has been arrested in South Tyneside on behalf of West Midlands Police on suspicion of using words or behavior, or displaying written material with intent to stir up racial hatred.”
As we can see from the photo captured at an EDL rally above, Reah not only has a hate tattoo, but is displaying it before the media.
The only US case involving a tattoo arrest that I know of was in April 2011, in which another dumbass explicitly tattooed the murder scene of a crime he had committed — with details that only the murderer would really know — and it was used as evidence against him.
And in Germany, Cy & Caro, on the Needles & Sins FB page, mentioned that the police gave a man a fine for a racist tattoo in Germany. If anyone knows of actual arrests for the content of a tattoo, please share it with the group.
The endnote to the story about the mosque bomb tattoo is that Reah got it removed, as noted in this video below (although it looks like it was just blacked out).
But is it really that he had a change of heart or just simply to get out of jail?
On Sunday, December 16 from 2pm to 8pm The Restore Red Hook Art Show will bring together some of the most prominent names in the tattoo industry to Kidd Studios (133 Imlay St.) for a benefit to help local Red Hook businesses affected by Hurricane Sandy. In addition to a silent auction, the benefit will offer on-site tattoos, live music, and a cash bar… (more…)